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After Sandy, City Axed Volunteer’s Efforts To Clear Major Roadways Of Fallen Trees In Emergencies
Posted By Ned Berke On November 21, 2012 @ 2:00 pm In News & Features | 18 Comments
Emergency responders grappled to navigate Southern Brooklyn’s streets in the immediate wake of Superstorm Sandy, as scores of fallen trees blocked major roadways and residential streets alike.
But rather than let a group of do-gooders clear the way for fire trucks, ambulances and police cars, the Parks Department told them to mind their business.
Brooklyn Daily reports:
Once Hurricane Sandy left the city, Flatbush Shomrim founder Chaim Deutsch and his team began cutting up and carting off more than 75 uprooted trees blocking roads and preventing first responders and supply trucks from getting around Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, and Brighton Beach — until the city shut them down.
“We had a little problem with the Parks Department,” said Deutsch, who claimed that a Parks Department official told him to leave all the fallen trees left on city streets alone. “He said we’re not supposed to be doing that, but I said in a crisis, I’ll do whatever I have to.”
City officials told Deutsch that if the fallen tree wasn’t causing an emergency, its date with a mulch pile will have to wait two weeks — something a man with a gassed-up chainsaw at the ready can’t fathom.
… “Non-certified foresters who do not have permission from Parks should not go out with chainsaws and remove trees,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Megan Lalor. “It’s dangerous.”
According to Deutsch, who also works for Councilman Mike Nelson, Flatbush Shomrim disposed of 75 trees before the Parks Department shut them down. And in an emergency, he said, he’d do it all again.
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